If the ‘overspreading’ abomination took place in the period between the Cross until the destruction of the temple in AD 70, does that mean AoD prophecy is now all past? It is needful to have discernment here because some prophetic scriptures have more than one fulfilment, this being a case in point. It happened in prototype 168 BC, and then with its full face in AD 30, but there is good reason to believe the abomination of desolation is about to appear one more time.
The difficulty in presenting this is because a shrill argument exists between Preterists and Futurists and their debate has become so polarized that middle ground tends to get caught in the crossfire. The Preterists quote early church historians who report how, when Judea rebelled against Rome, Christians in Jerusalem escaped the city, fleeing to a place in the Jordan hills called Pella. They claim it was the complete realisation of Jesus words, but their explanation is inadequate because the fulfilment (as Jesus described it) was not complete in the Pella case. Nor did it take place during the seventieth week.
Futurists, on the other hand, quote Matthew 24:15-22. “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel … then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. And if those days had not been cut short, no human being would be saved.” They say it has not happened as of yet, and verse 22 seems to bear that out. But to prove their point futurists adopt an unnatural disconnect between the sixty-ninth and seventieth weeks projecting it 2000 years into the future.
My alternative interpretation is ‘dual fulfilment’, a biblical concept that gives prophecy a near/far aspect, satisfying an early fulfilment and then an ultimate fulfilment later on. Indeed, abominations of the blasphemous kind tend to repeat because they are the fruit of an antichrist spirit which is always with us. Whenever the spirit manifests itself in the form of a man we get ‘Antichrist’ and that is why St John says, “… you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.” (1 John 2:18) With this in mind, we observe Daniels visions having several (not just one) antichrists and abominations, and the gradual revealing of a future ‘man of sin.’
The best known AoD is that of Antiochus Epiphanes. This is the subject of Daniel chapters eight and eleven, culminating in, “Then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.” (Dan 11:31) From verse 36 however, the text telescopes forward to a different person, similar in ‘spirit’, but whose actions no longer match the Greek tyrant. It is obviously alluding to a future Antichrist.
The least understood case of abomination, as explained before, is the one which began in the middle of the seventieth week. (AD 30) Futurists have conflated it with the AoD to come, but in this case it was the continuation of animal atonement.
We have to go to the first example in Daniel’s book to find the final Antichrist. It is an overview of world history as it pertains to ‘beast’ dominions that would arise. They were a lion (Babylon), a bear (Medo-Persia), a leopard (Greece) and a terrifying beast. (Rome) Their characteristics were that of antichrist – conquest and power. Then, from out of the fourth beast came ten ‘horns’ and from out of these another horn who, “had eyes like the eyes of a human being and a mouth that spoke boastfully.” (Dan 7:8) He would, speak against the Most High and oppress God’s holy people who would be delivered into his hands for a “time, times and half a time.” (Dan 7:25) This is the Antichrist who is yet to come!
It might be helpful at this point to notice how the ‘times’ mentioned are the same period referenced in the book of Revelation. The end-time 3 ½ years are not taken from Daniel chapter nine as so often assumed since that would require the ‘seventieth week’ to be broken off and sent to the future. Such an interpretation is unnecessary because a different 3 ½ year period is already revealed in Daniel chapter seven.
(continued next post)